You’re not supposed to win a playoff game after falling behind by 28 points. The Indianapolis Colts had plenty of reasons to fold it up and go home. But Andrew Luck overcame his interceptions and everything the Kansas City Chiefs threw at him, winning his first ever playoff game, pulling off the second greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.
Luck threw three interceptions, two to Husain Abdullah and one to Brandon Flowers. Trent Richardson touched the ball once and fumbled it, never being called upon again. Still, they made it. Maybe it’s the special aura around Luck (also protected very well by his offensive line, allowing him to be pressured on only 7-of-49 dropbacks), but maybe it’s simply this team arriving to the game one half too late. They were down 38-10 before outscoring the Chiefs 35-6 in the final 27 minutes of the game.
How did it happen? How does a team that wins the turnover battle 4-1 lose a 28-point battle? Some things are beyond the stats, it’s about little plays, leading to the 45-44 win, with Luck finding T.Y. Hilton for a 64-yard touchdown with 04:21 remaining to win the game.
It was Robert Mathis with the huge strip-sack on Alex Smith, who was playing the best football he’s ever played. Mathis and the Colts couldn’t get to Smith, passing or running, all through the first half. But then the defense made adjustments, and the Colts finally started getting some stops. It was no surprise – Mathis led the NFL in sacks and forced fumbles this season. Six plays later, Donald Brown caught one of his touchdowns (ran for one as well), and the Colts were rolling.
Andrew Luck finished the game with 29-of-45 for 443 passing yards, finding Hilton (twice), Brown and Coby Fleener for touchdowns. He ran for one as well, although it was a Brown fumble that led to it. At some point, it was all about things going right for the Colts. Flowers leaving the game with an injury (after Jamaal Charles left in the first quarter with signs of a concussion), and that lucky bounce. Luck followed the ball with his eyes, and was in the right place to capitalize on the fumble recovery, leaping over the pile, reaching in for the touchdown.
One for the ages. I think somebody said that it was the second-largest comeback or whatever in the history of whatever. I guess 21 wasn’t large enough at half, so we thought we’d give them another seven, you know, just to make it interesting. I don’t know if it ever crossed my mind on how it would be remembered. When I took a knee, and you feel the buzz and the energy of the crowd and see your teammates’ faces, that makes it special.
The Colts are on to the next round despite everything going against them (due to bad play, not luck) during the first half. However, even after losing Reggie Wayne during the season and looking very inconsistent in the second half of it, there’s something about this team and especially its quarterback, which makes it impossible to count them out even when they’re behind by four touchdowns.